• Home
  • Author: Erle Charmian

Safety First: Is the Thrill of Tombstoning Worth the Risks?

Some hikers plan on tombstoning  when off to mountainous areas located along coastlines or rivers. Trekking along slippery cliffs is already dangerous as it is. Deliberately jumping off from a high cliff into the waiting arms of the open water below is even more dangerous.

Jumping off high cliffs is a practice common to surfers who want to avoid navigating through turbulent breakers. Surfers though apply caution by making sure the height from where they will jump is reasonable enough for a safe leap. Non-surfers who tried the cliff-jumping act were thrilled by the adrenaline rush, likening the blood-pumping experience as one that is similar to the thrills of engaging in extreme sports. The stunt then became known as tombstoning and went on to become a popular craze.

However, the alarming rate by which fatal tombstoning incidents and critical near-death injuries happened in the past 10 years, has raised concerns of government authorities. More so when they learned teenagers, ages 11 and higher, are taking part in tombstoning challenges. The UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) describes tombstoning as

“a high-risk, unregulated activity, undertaken by unsupervised individuals”

.

Why is Tombstoning Branded as a Dangerous Form of Recreation?

According to the MCA, most of the outcomes of the hundreds of adverse tombstoning incidents they encountered yearly, often resulted to fatality; or to severe injuries that eventually lead to death, or to permanent brain or bodily damages.

The MCA explained that water depth tends to change along with the movement of the tide. The open water may be actually shallower, in which rocks and other formations are not immediately visible. Moreover, the shock of hitting cold water can stun, and make it difficult for the jumper to swim. In some cases, tombstoning divers unknowingly drop into strong currents that instantly sweep them away.

On its part, the British Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) has banned any form of advertisements using tombstoning as enticement, when promoting a travel destination.

Deep Cleaning a Hiking Backpack

A sturdy hiking backpack is an important investment for those inclined to spend most of their free time in the great outdoors. After all, the type of pack used to carry numerous important hiking gears must be robust enough to withstand any kind of environment, climate and weather.

Most hiking aficionados prefer to invest on the legit expensive types. Those are the kinds that come with unconditional warranty for several years; suggestive of the manufacturer’s guarantee on the durability of materials and method used in constructing every piece of backpack they make.

Deep Cleaning a Backpack Necessitates Use of a Portable Handheld Vacuum Cleaner

Since hiking backpacks tend to take on different kinds of dirt and grime, there is a need to deep clean them once an outdoor adventurer gets home. Although soaking, wiping and soft-brushing the soiled area are good enough ways to clean a backpack, those that went through tougher travels are likely to have accumulated more dirt and grime. You may have failed to remove some of the soil, sand and gravel from your tent or sleeping bag, before packing them back in your backpack.

Turning the bag inside out and vigorously shaking out the dirt may not be enough, as some of the small particles would have found their way inside seams and zippers. When deep cleaning your hiking backpack, you will find it necessary to use a handy vacuum cleaner that can suck up dirt not visible to the human eye. Even if you apply vigorous brushing, such actions can only weaken the seams and/or zippers in time.

It is important to prevent dirt build up because those are the main attractors of mold and mildew, which are carriers of microorganisms that thrive in moist environments. Thoroughly drying your hiking backpack therefore, is another must, before putting it in storage.

Type of Vacuum Cleaner to Use in Deep Cleaning a Hiking Backpack

Portable handheld vacuum cleaners can almost do the job. A better alternative though is the type used for cleaning carpets, which some brands refer to as an electric-floor sweeper . It is a cleaning apparatus specifically designed to thoroughly clean any size, or kind of surface, by way of strategically positioned brush rolls that can easily pick up small or large-size debris; including hard-to-see pet hairs.

By the way, use a portable electric floor sweeper on a backpack that has been turned inside out, before proceeding with the basic soaking, wiping, brushing and drying procedures. That way, you will be dealing with less dirt and grime during the cleaning process.

Importance of Using a Bag or Case When Transporting Airsoft Guns

Regardless of the laws imposed by a state or country in which an airsoft gun is being transported, it is always wise and proper to use a bag or case in carrying a mock firearm.

When in public places, keeping replica sniper rifles and handguns out of view is mainly for the safety of the airsoft gun carrier. As it is, fear and apprehension at the sight of a firearm carried openly in public places, have been sown by the spate of random mass shootings occurring nearly every year.

Only recently in January 2019, a man carrying two assault rifles in his back was seen coming out of the freeway in Albuquerque near Eubank and I-40. The sight caused quite a scare, to which concerned citizens started flooding 911 with calls and putting nearby neighborhoods on alert. Two schools, the Kennedy Middle and Tomasina Elementary Schools were locked down as additional precaution.

Fortunately, the responding Albuquerque police did not use violence in accosting the rifle-carrying individual. It turned out later that the supposed weapon was a realistic looking airsoft rifle.

It was probably the best airsoft sniper rifle in the market. Everyone, even the police officer in charge and the news people who were covering the incident, thought it was a genuine assault rifle. Besides, slinging the airsoft rifle on one’s back while in a public place, is a method most definitely discouraged by airsoft communities.

What Type of Bag Should Be Used

Although there are the so-called tactical bags, load out bags and rifle cases, the range of choices are not limited to those types of carriers. In recent years, the make of backpacks and duffle bags have become robust and versatile. Some other airsoft aficionados suggest using a guitar case or the luggage-type attached to a stroller, as those types of alternative carrier bags offer greater protection against accidental damage.

Alternative carriers are in fact recommended as they do not attract attention or draw suspicion, if only for purposes of transporting a replica weapon to the recreational battle site.

Consider Professionally Crafted Self-Guided Trips for Hiking Adventures

Most hikers who have come to develop well-rounded skills in trekking routes, venture to explore the world on their own. The only thing that will make them resort to packaged tours, is when they lack the time needed to research about a travel destination, organize an itinerary and make all the booking arrangements necessary. After all, one cannot just go off on a vacation leave without making sure that every task that needs to be done has been accomplished. There are instances though, when little time is left to make a sound plan for a long-awaited, off-to-hiking vacation.

What is a Self-Guided Trip?

The great news is that most adventure tour providers are also offering self-guided trips for those wishing to explore a hiking destination on their own. This type of service will take on all the planning, including mapping out of routes and furnishing all information needed by a self-guided traveler.

Awesome even is that planning takes into consideration the skills, interests and preferences of the hiker. That way, from start off point, throughout the entire hiking adventure, up to finish, the self-guided venturer can proceed with confidence.

What to Expect from Self-Guided Trips

Providers of Self-Guided travels create a bespoke hiking plan  for the explorer; using information drawn from years of experience, and from connections established as expert travel/ tour guides. The tour company undertakes paying out in advance, travel accommodations and basic meals agreed to and confirmed by the traveler.

Information provided is comprehensive, as it will include not only topographical maps; but also trail notes, alternate routes, modes of transfers, refuge centers, and even where one can get laundry services.

Hiking Destination: Machu Picchu in Peru

Blaze your way to the fabled “lost citadel” of Machu Picchu in Peru, by hiking through the trail used by the Incas from as far back as the 15th century. The trailblazing experience is shrouded with spirituality, as hikers come across sacred valleys surrounded with mysterious history

.Machu Picchu – The Crown Jewel of Peru

Machu Picchu is an ancient Inca city perched high in the Andes Mountains between two towering peaks . Now listed as one of the “New 7 Wonders of the World”, the ancient city was unknown to the outside world for centuries. Hiram Bingham, an archaeologist, rediscovered the abandoned city in 1911. He marveled at the stone walls, edifices, and caves found in the citadel, revealing intricate Inca carvings, enigmatic altars, and about 600 well-engineered terraces.

Present day visitors wending their way to the central plaza of Machu Picchu will have close glimpses of revered sites such as those of the Sacred Rock, the Temple of the Moon, Temple of the Condor, and Temple of the Three Windows.

An actual venture into Machu Picchu’s ancient grounds  make visitors wonder why a city so marvelously built had been abandoned.

What to Bring When Trailblazing Your Way to Machu Picchu

Planning for a Machu Picchu hiking adventure starts with booking a flight to Lima, and from there transferring by way of plane or train to Cusco. After which, book for an overnight stay at Cusco, or at Urubamba, or at Ollantaytambo. Guided tours usually bring hikers to the first Inca Trail Check at around 7:00 a.m. on Day 2, where you will have to show your passport before entering the Inca Trail.

Consult with your tour guides, regarding the particular types of clothing not allowed when traveling via the trail. Don’t forget to include a jacket or rain gear in your backpack, as rains are likely to occur. Moreover, know the dimension of the backpack  you can bring inside Machu Picchu, as the oversize types are not allowed.

It will take 3 days of hiking before reaching Machu Picchu, so make sure you have a hat and enough sunscreen on hand. During the period, you will be making ascents and descents through valleys. The trek will have you passing through communities, doing some sight-seeing,  to end daily with an overnight stay at designated campsites.

That goes without saying that you will have to bring sleeping bags or tents, mosquito repellents, as well as food to cook with your camping cookware. It is important to bring an ample amount of cash not only for buying souvenirs, but also to spend on bathrooms.

While hiking along the Inca Trail, you may chance upon some of the furry animals called chinchillas. In case you are interested in bringing one home, check with the local authorities in the area if they will allow you to do so. Just be sure you can prove you know how to take care of them, and of their needs, particularly about the right type of cages for chinchillas. Keep in mind that although it is legal to keep them as pets, the gentle creatures are already listed as Endangered Species in the IUCN Red List.

On Day 4, you will have reached the Sun Gate between 7-8 am, and from there descend a flight of stairs to reach the final checkpoint. Exploring the city on your own can be arranged with tour guides, since you will only be having a 2-hour guided tour.

Gear-Up for a Backpacking Adventure in Ireland

One of the best places to visit for a backpacking adventure is Ireland. Aside from being home to city’s filled with cultural festivals, historical sites and posh traditional pubs, Ireland abounds with landscapes that can truly warm the heart of backpacking nature lovers.

Bring out your favorite Granite Gear backpack and make plans for a most exhilarating backpacking adventure in the Emerald Island. Although divided as a nation, one being the Republic of Ireland in the south, and the other represented by Northern Ireland as remaining territory of the United Kingdom, this does not mean there is a limit to exploring all the breathtaking landscapes the island has to offer.

Modes of Transport

Initially, roads leading to the Green Island’s remote scenic spots can be traversed by way of the rail network but only up to certain points. Running 8 times daily between Belfast and Dublin Connolly, stops are at train stations located in Cork, Galway, Derry-Londonderry and Sligo. To reach the most remote scenic countrysides, transport is available by way of buses provided by the Republic’s Bus Éireann, and Northern Ireland’s Translink. The great news is that there other bus services offered by private companies, providing rides in areas not serviced by the 2 national buses.

Those wishing to travel at a faster pace, combine walking and hitchhiking as means of reaching lesser-known rural areas. Just like in any country, travellers though, are advised not to hitchhike, since this mode of transport is generally regarded as unsafe. Some others anticipate long road treks and bring along a foldable electric scooter. After all, an adult electric scooter can run at a speed of 15.5 to 20 miles per hour for short-distance travels, covering between 15 to 20 miles. Charging one is not a problem either, because travelers can always find a hostel, bed & breakfast home or farm running on electricity, even in the most remote areas.

Popular Places to Visit When in Ireland

Backpacking visitors though do not have to go far to visit the most popular scenic destinations in Ireland. To name a few, the following places are among the numerous reasons why many find a trip to Ireland the most exhilarating experience.

County Meath – Home to many of Ireland’s historic monuments, the most revered of which are the ancient megalithic passage tombs of Newgrange, Dowth and Knowth. The burial sites are said to be older than the UK Stonehenge and Egypt’s Pyramid of Giza.

Ring of Kerry – The green sceneries here are literally picture perfect, having been captured for postcards, used as subjects of romantic songs, poems and for cinematographic purposes.

Cliffs of Moher – Rising 702 feet above the Atlantic ocean, and stretching nearly 5 miles, the seascape and landscape of the Cliffs provide visitors with the entire view of the Emerald Island.

The Giant’s Causeway –  A coastal area located in County Antrim, that boasts of basalt pillars and stepping stones formed by volcanic eruptions that transpired as far back as 60 million years ago.

The Aran Islands – Composed of smaller islands, Inisheer, Inishmaan and Inishmór, in which rural locals have carefully preserved traditional Irish culture for several centuries.